Deep Space
By Whitney Rugg
Deep Space: Christine Catsifas, Wonjung Choi, Rebecca Smith, and Anthony Titus at Bloomberg
May 22-October 6, 2006
Bloomberg Headquarters (New York, NY)

In a classical television series, a fleet of space travelers pledges to go “Where no man has gone before,” boldly exploring the deepest reaches of the galaxy.  These fictional heroes express an innate human desire to probe the unknown.  Pushing recognized limits while seeking out parallel civilizations.  Their journey manifests our driving ambition to better understand our own place in the cosmos.

Although any individual can see far beyond our planet with a pair of eyes and a powerful telescope, creative minds possess an infinite capacity to visualize the unknown.  Artists have sought connections forever between the tangible, sensate realm we inhabit and the incomprehensibly vast and complex universe that surrounds us.  For centuries, artists have emphasized our earthbound existence by situating figures realistically in pictorial space.  Nevertheless, modern master Henri Matisse reminds us that “it is the imagination that gives depth and space to a picture.”  Today, technological innovations enable artists to invent three-dimensional worlds in virtual space, once again blurring the boundaries between the real and the imagined.

Approaching the Bloomberg LP headquarters as its own self-contained universe, Deep Space: Christine Catsifas, Wonjung Choi, Rebecca Smith, and Anthony Titus at Bloomberg, prompts us to reconsider our position in space, whether as part of a global entity or as a perceptual phenomenon.  As with an early Renaissance-perspective drawing, each corridor provides a linear perspective with a single vanishing point—a mathematically-ordered route that leads in one clear direction.  Within these well-traveled and distinctly-gridded corridors, each artist has produced a temporary site-specific installation that deepens our sensitivity to the space around us.

Rebecca Smith’s Warm Dark Rainy addresses the invisible toll human beings have taken on our atmosphere.  Smith delivers an urgent message about climate change and its effect on the environment using an obsolete method of communication to substantiate the impact.  Recently, Smith has explored the odd visual configurations that make up shorthand, a secretarial writing method predating tape recorders and computers.  Using multiple colors, textures, and sizes of tape, Smith inscribes her work in shorthand directly onto gallery walls.  Despite their whimsical arabesque strokes, Smith seeks to link this notational system to the evolution of written language, considering them similarly grounded in some pictorial aesthetic or belief system.  Warm Dark Rainy serves as a concise weather report that describes the catastrophic conditions we can anticipate as climate change progresses, catapulting visitors from the safe Bloomberg interior out into the deeply damaged space of our Earth’s atmosphere.

© Whitney Rugg 2006